Downtown Festival District

A Downtown Festival District allows customers of participating Downtown restaurants and bars to purchase and take open containers of alcohol from the licensed premises for consumption in the public right-of-way located within a designated area and during a limited timeframe.

Next Event

— To Be Announced

City Ordinance

To learn more about a Downtown Festival District, review City Code section 5-62.2.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Resident Questions

Participants can only carry or consume alcoholic beverages on public property when a Downtown Festival District has been designated. Carrying an open container or consuming alcohol on public property at any other time is prohibited.

The boundaries of a Festival District can vary but will generally include the core business area of Downtown Champaign, including numerous bars and restaurants. Specific boundaries will be established and promoted on this website for each specific event. At the time of the event, signs will also be conspicuously posted around the perimeter of the Festival District to provide a visual reminder of the boundaries to those participating.

No, you cannot bring alcohol into the Festival District. All alcoholic beverages being consumed on public property in a Downtown Festival District must be purchased from a bar or restaurant within the Festival District. Downtown establishments that sell liquor are not required to participate or to allow alcohol to be taken from their premises.

Downtown liquor establishments that have chosen to participate in the Festival District must provide a wristband to anyone who purchases an alcoholic beverage for consumption on public property. The wristband is a way of making sure the person consuming alcohol in public is of legal drinking age and that they purchased the beverage from within the Downtown Festival District.

Downtown establishments that sell liquor are not required to participate or to allow alcohol to be taken from their premises. Downtown restaurants and bars that have chosen to participate must follow certain additional rules, including issuing wristbands and serving “to-go” alcoholic beverages in paper or plastic cups.

No. Consumption of alcohol in any City-owned parking lot or parking deck is prohibited and outside the boundaries of the Downtown Festival District.

Champaign police officers will patrol the Downtown Festival District and surrounding areas to ensure that participants are following the rules and acting in a responsible manner. Police will provide reminders and guidance for those who appear unsure of the rules or the boundaries of the Festival District. Liquor establishments participating in the Festival District are also expected to follow and enforce liquor rules as required by City Code.

To protect the public from hazards associated with broken glass, alcoholic beverages carried or consumed in public within the Festival District must be in a plastic or paper container.


Liquor Licensee Questions

Class A, R, and RT licensees located within the designated Festival District are eligible to participate and sell alcohol for consumption within the Festival District. Licensees must first submit an application to the Liquor Commissioner along with a non-refundable $50 application fee.

No, licensees are not required to sell alcohol for public consumption in the Festival District. Participation is voluntary.

Yes, eligible licensees must submit an application to the Liquor Commissioner along with a non-refundable $50 application fee. The application and fee is only for the duration of a specific Festival District as designated by the Liquor Commissioner. Participating licensees must make a separate application for each Festival District designation (specific date/time).

Yes.  Alcoholic beverages sold for public consumption in the Festival District MUST be served in plastic or paper cups.  No glass, bottles, or aluminum containers are permitted in the Festival District.

Section 5-62.2 of the City’s Liquor Ordinance states as follows:

a. All licensees approved to participate in the Downtown Festival District shall do the following:

1. Conspicuously post, at the bar and at the entrance(s) and exit(s) of the establishment, the associated rules of the Downtown Festival District, as may be updated from time to time by the Liquor Commissioner, in the form distributed by the Liquor Commissioner’s office.

2. Provide a Downtown Festival District wristband to each patron that intends to consume alcoholic beverages outside of the licensed premises.

3. Verify the identity of each patron and confirm that the patron is at least twenty-one years of age before providing a Downtown Festival District wristband to the patron.

4. Provide trash receptacles on the sidewalk areas immediately adjacent to the licensed premises, and regularly monitor and empty these receptacles as reasonably necessary.

5. Assign an employee or employees to regularly inspect for and remove items of trash from the sidewalk, curb, and street areas that are immediately adjacent to the licensed premises.

6. Permit any individual wearing Downtown Festival District wristbands to utilize the establishment’s restrooms, unless so doing would pose an immediate threat or danger to the safety and welfare of the licensee’s employees or customers.

7. Abide, at all times, to all other Rules of the Liquor Commissioner, and to all sections of the Champaign Municipal Code.

b. Additional requirements:

1. No alcoholic liquor may be sold or in any way distributed for consumption in the Downtown Festival District by any person or establishment that has not applied and been approved to participate in the Downtown Festival District pursuant to these rules.

2. No alcoholic liquor intended for consumption outside of the licensed premises may be sold or otherwise distributed to any individual not in possession of a current and valid Downtown Festival District wristband.

3. A licensee may not charge a fee, directly or indirectly, for a Downtown Festival District wristband, which shall be provided by the City.

4. No Class T-2 licenses shall be issued for any portion of the public way that is otherwise part of or adjacent to the area designated as a Downtown Festival District.

5. All alcoholic liquor for consumption in the Downtown Festival District must be contained in plastic or paper cups only.

6. Any licensee that has sold or otherwise distributed alcoholic liquor that is consumed in the public way by an individual who does not possess a required Downtown Festival District wristband, or in a container other than a plastic or paper cup, shall be considered in violation of these rules.

7. In the course of an investigation of a violation of these rules or of the Municipal Code of Champaign, a citizen’s identification of the licensee responsible for such violation shall create a rebuttable presumption of such responsibility. The Liquor Commissioner may rely on such identification if it could be reasonably relied upon by a reasonable person in the course of his or her affairs. Evidence offered for admission to rebut the presumption can include, but not be limited to, photos, videos, and receipts provided by the licensee that prove that the licensee was not responsible for the violation.

Wristbands are provided by the City to eligible licensees who opt to participate in the Downtown Festival District.  Wristbands are used to verify the wearer is of legal drinking age and purchased their alcoholic beverage within the Downtown Festival District.  Wristbands will help both licensed establishments and law enforcement.

No. Wristbands are provided to approved Festival District applicants free of charge. A licensee may NOT charge a fee, directly or indirectly, for a Downtown Festival District wristband.
Night photo of Downtown Champagin

Contact Us

Liquor Commissioner's Office
Champaign City Building – Mayor’s Office
102 N Neil Street
Champaign, IL 61820
217-403-8720
liquorlicensing@champaignil.gov